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Old 03-08-2011, 01:26 AM   #1
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Competitive Comparison - Class C Sprinters

I'm new here so be gentle ..... <grin>

Since Forest River manufacturers both the Forest River Solera and the Coachman Prism what are the differences between the two model lines? Do they both use the same Mercedes chassis specs?

For the most part, are all bailment chassis specs from Mercedes/Freightliner the same or do some convertors/manufacturers use/order a higher spec level chassis?

How does the Forest River Solera/Coachman Prism Class C Sprinters compare to the Winnebago View/Itasca Navion; the Thor Four Winds/Chateau; the Fleetwood Jamboree/Tioga; etc.?

Thanks
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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The chasis is 100% the same (engine, weight, towing capacity, etc). The difference is 'options' selected and used (Radio, Seats, etc).

The big difference is floorplan and materials (and equipment) being used by the manufacturers.

The Winnebago View/Itasca Navion wins if you care about leather seats for the cab and a second radio in the coach as well as aerodynamic (not as tall and better front profile). However everything comes at a price and I just could not justify the 20K+ price difference.

The Coachman Prism looks interesting but I guess it will be priced/positioned against the Winnebago and carry a very similar price. For that price I would have preferred the Mercedes Grill (like the Winnebago) and not the Freightliner grill.....

We considered the Four Winds as well but no dealer in the area is willing to stock them (must be due to the 2009 chasis which is still Dodge branded and lacks a few horsepower) but priced like a Winnebago.

For us the Solera provided the most room in the living quarters and price/value was the best compromise we found. I would have taken the Winnebago if the price would be more 'realistic' on those (part of the problem was dealer only has the full paint option which is zero value when you sit inside and lots of $$$).

Reiner
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:33 PM   #3
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Competitive Comparison

Reiner:

Thanks for reesponding and the information.

FYI - The Coachman Prism and the Forest River Solera "should" be the same unit since Forest River makes both?????
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:35 PM   #4
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gedupont,

the floor plans are rather different. Something like the Winnebago View which actually has 3 completely different floorplans (if you don't count the profile which is number 4).

Reiner
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:28 PM   #5
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Solera versus Prism

Reiner:

My error. You are absolutely correct. The Prism has three different floorplans while the Solera only has one. I also notice that the Coachman Prism has leather/naugahyde seat surfaces rather than the cloth in the Foprest River Solera. Do you know of any other differences? Does the Prism possibly use custom swivel/reclining driver/passenger seats rather than the fixed Sprinter seats in the Solera?
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:07 PM   #6
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There is nothing on the website listing features, etc (yet). So all data is purely from pictures......

Having the Solera I might be biassed, but the non swivel and fabric seats are better for us than leather seats. The fabric is for commercial vehicles (if they used the stock Mercedes/Freightliner specs) and thus very resistent against abuse (unlike the leather).

From the picture the Prism seems to be positioned better against the Winnebago and Four Winds - but won't succeed as they did nice on the inside but the outside is the same 'old school' design while both Winnebago and Four Winds have a more modern (aerodynamic) design to their favor.

Reiner
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
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Forest River is the parent company...but the Solera & Prism are completely different divisions. Instead of "Chevy-Buick" its more like "Chevy-Saturn". There is no cross over between the Coachmen & Forest River divisions (other than chassis).
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
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We looked at the Navion and View before selecting the Solera. We were looking for function over form and $$ value. We paid over $20K less for our Solera than either the Navion or View. We have more storage than either Navion or View. I have upgraded the suspension which IMO would be required on any Sprinter based Class C so that is a wash. We have added swivel seat bases, pleated cab window shades and wood grain dash kit (a little luxury never hurt anyone) for less than $1,200. We get about 2MPG less than the Navion/View but it would take more miles than we will ever drive to make up the $$ difference. My only complaint so far has been the non brand Chinese backup camera system that doesn't work half the time. Our break-in trip was Austin Texas to Tewksbury Mass and back and all in all it was a great trip.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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The backup camera gave up in ours on the first day and was replaced with a superiour one that is now working flawlessly. Maybe you need to work with your dealer to get it fixed. Seems to be a known issue as the replacement sent by FR was a better model.

We went through the same decission process. While we liked the View/Navion there was no way to justify the $20K+ price difference. Now that we use the Solera rather frequently we even prefer having a real oven - something the Navion/View can't offer.

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Old 05-02-2011, 01:36 PM   #10
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Nice to hear. I'm with the factory, we've been talking about offering an upgrade package similar to what you have done aftermarket.

I'd be curious to know what you did for the suspension upgrade. The pleated cab shades, are those the same as what the view offers? Did you get your swivel seats aftermarket or from Mercedes?
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